Baby Tested Positive for Marijuana - Parental Rights Termination
The Office for Services to Children and Families (SCF) received a referral from a hospital after mother and her newborn child tested positive for marijuana and amphetamine.
The trial court also determined that termination was warranted because of neglect under ORS 419B.506.
ORS 419B.506 provides:
"The rights of the parent or parents may be terminated as provided in ORS 419B.500 if the court finds that the parent or parents have failed or neglected without reasonable and lawful cause to provide for the basic physical and psychological needs of the child for six months prior to the filing of a petition. In determining such failure or neglect, the court shall disregard any incidental or minimal expressions of concern or support and shall consider but is not limited to one or more of the following:
"(1) Failure to provide care or pay a reasonable portion of substitute physical care and maintenance if custody is lodged with others.
"(2) Failure to maintain regular visitation or other contact with the child which was designed and implemented in a plan to reunite the child with the parent.
"(3) Failure to contact or communicate with the child or with the custodian of the child. In making this determination, the court may disregard incidental visitations, communications or contributions."
ORS 419B.504 provides:
"The rights of the parent or parents may be terminated as provided in ORS 419B.500 if the court finds that the parent or parents are unfit by reason of conduct or condition seriously detrimental to the child and integration of the child into the home of the parent or parents is improbable within a reasonable time due to conduct or conditions not likely to change. In determining such conduct and conditions, the court shall consider but is not limited to the following:
"(1) Emotional illness, mental illness or mental deficiency of the parent of such nature and duration as to render the parent incapable of providing proper care for the child for extended periods of time.
"(2) Conduct toward any child of an abusive, cruel or sexual nature.
"(3) Addictive or habitual use of intoxicating liquors or controlled substances to the extent that parental ability has been substantially impaired.
"(4) Physical neglect of the child.
"(5) Lack of effort of the parent to adjust the circumstances of the parent, conduct, or conditions to make the return of the child possible or failure of the parent to effect a lasting adjustment after reasonable efforts by available social agencies for such extended duration of time that it appears reasonable that no lasting adjustment can be effected.
"(6) Criminal conduct that impairs the parent's ability to provide adequate care for the child."
Under ORS 419B.504(1), one of the factors that the court must consider in determining parental fitness is whether the "emotional illness, mental illness or mental deficiency of the parent is of such nature and duration as to render the parent incapable of providing proper care for the child for extended periods of time." to the extent that personality disorders or traits implicate that factor, the statute requires more than a diagnosis.